Urgent from Beograd

Stefan Merten (merten@dfki.uni-kl.de)
Tue, 07 Jan 1997 12:58:08 +0100


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Hi!

Unfortunately this is somewhat outdated :-( ...

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Message-ID: <199612271325.OAA26325@vnet3.vub.ac.be> Date: Fri, 27 Dec 1996 14:12:53 +0100 Reply-To: Friedens- und Konfliktforschung <FKF-L@rz.uni-karlsruhe.de> Sender: Friedens- und Konfliktforschung <FKF-L@rz.uni-karlsruhe.de> From: Wim de Haar <wdehaar@vnet3.vub.ac.be> Subject: Urgent from Beograd

>Date: Wed, 25 Dec 1996 21:52:56 +0100
>From: Nino Margetic <nino@well.ox.ac.uk>
>Sender: cro-news@well.ox.ac.uk
>To: Multiple recipients of list <cro-news@well.ox.ac.uk>
>Subject: Urgent from Beograd
>
>[Courtesy of I.S.]
>
> As a group of professionals working in the field of social conflict
>analysis and resolution we turn to all similar organizations, groups and
>individuals who believe in the possibility of nonviolent resolution of
>social conflicts with great concern and request for help.
>
> In Belgrade and in many other cities in Serbia, citizens' and students'
>protest walks have been taking place every day for more than a month, ini-
>tiated by their dissatisfaction caused by the anulment of the election results
>by the ruling party. We assess these proest walks as being completely
>nonviolent. They show a true Gandhian manner of action, and their basic
>message is "Give back our votes".
>
> What worries us the most in addition to the information blockade in the
>Yugoslav public media regarding these protests are the latest reactions of
>the regime, which we consider as moves leading to an extremely dangerous and
>irreversible escalation of the conflict:
>
> a) a renewed spreading of nationalism, xenophobia, and theories of
> conspiracy through the state-owned media which, while commenting
> on the students' and citizens' protest walks, label them as a plot
> against the Serbian nation, (i.e., as a "connection" between domestic
> "traitors", Western powers "who were for centuries enemies of Serbia",
> Albanian "separatists", "Ustashas" from Vojvodina, etc.), which we
> consider a dangerous provocation of fear.
>
> b) the organizations of "counterprotests", i.e., meetings of support for
> the president and the regime, with the announcement that on December 24th
> such a counterprotest will take place in Belgrade at the same site and at
> the same time as the citizens' protest gathering. This we consider a
> clear incitement of aggression and a possibility for the outbreak of
> civil war.
>
> c) instead of offering information and displaying a range of opinions,
> using the "common people" image in the major information programs
> of the state-owned media to label and spread prejudice and misinfor-
> matiion about the behavior of the protesters without any objective facts
> can be seen as a model of stupidity and even brainwashing.
>
> Especially worrying is the fact that we recognize in these three
>above-mentioned tactics of the regime and its media the main mechanisms
>that brought on the war in former Yugoslavia, and that we analyzed in 1991-
>1995. We consider the revival of the same apparatus by the regime to be a
>dangerous escalation, especially since there is no institutional counter-
>balance except the protest walks in the streets. Also, we fear that such
>moves which incite fear, hatred, and stupidity have very long-lasting and
>far-reaching consequences that we still have not compltely succeeded to
>remedy.
>
> Therefore we ask you to please use your influence to turn the atten-
>tion of the public toward this moment in the Yugoslav crisis, and do
>whatever is in your power to help realize the fastest possible democratic
>transformation in Serbia. With the fact in our minds that we did not
>prevent the civil war in former Yugoslavia, let us try at least to
>prevent a civil war in Serbia.
>
>For Group MOST, Dr. Tr. TUNDE KOVACS-CEROVIC, in Belgrade, Dec. 23, 1996.
>
>
>
*************************************************************************** Drs. Wim de Haar Free University of Brussels / Centre for Peace and Security Studies Pleinlaan 2 B-1050 Brussels Tel: (..)32.2.6292228 Fax:(..)32.2.6292278 or (..)32.2.6292282 URL: http://www.vub.ac.be/POLE

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